better revenue and workflows with athenaOne switch
9-11K patients visits each year
3 locations in metropolitan Dallas, Texas
- Limited access to clinical and operational data
- Challenged to improve collections
- Inefficient workflows; required 3 MAs per physician
- On-demand visibility into clinical and revenue performance
- Optimized collections and revenue management
- Streamlined workflows and reduced busywork
- 24/7 personalized support
Tarpon Interventional Pain and Spine Care, led by two physicians, operates out of three offices in Texas. Under the direction of their new Chief Financial Officer, Dede Arnold, they realized that their technology was dragging down revenue and productivity. After years of using athenaPractice and an outsourced medical billing service, the practice was ready to modernize its EHR and medical billing. They chose athenaOne, a powerful suite of technology and services. Now the practice can focus on delivering exceptional patient care while controlling costs and maximizing productivity.
Not operating at peak efficiency means it’s time for a new solution
Dede Arnold knew Tarpon was not operating at peak efficiency. They relied on a patchwork of solutions that included outsourced medical billing and athenaPractice, a “clunky” practice management and clinical solution.
“Our systems were outdated and inefficient,” says Arnold. The practice had to hire additional staff in order to handle the workload that their technology created. For example, staff had to manually transfer patient information from one program into another during check-in. Each physician even required three medical assistants. “I knew we could do better,” says Arnold.
The practice was also challenged by a lack of insight into clinical and operational data. They were unable to run comprehensive reports, making it difficult to gauge performance and identify areas for improvement. Because of these challenges, they couldn’t participate in quality programs such as MIPS. The practice was leaving money on the table.
“When I learned about athenaOne, I was very impressed”
After looking at about 12 options, Arnold was ready to move forward with eClinicalWorks, the solution she had used in a previous job. However, when athenahealth approached her about the option to switch to athenaOne, as an existing customer, she knew it would be a better choice for the practice. athenaOne offers an all-in-one solution for both clinical and financial operations, with streamlined clinical and billing workflows, and would allow the practice to improve patient care as well as collections. “When I learned about athenaOne, I was very impressed,” says Arnold. “Within five minutes I was sold. I saw that we could integrate administrative and clinical operations and get complete visibility into our data.”
Arnold also had the opportunity to speak with a practice in the same specialty that had recently switched to athenaOne. “They explained the impressive impact athena had on their performance,” says Arnold.
Because athenaOne is a fully integrated solution, Arnold also considered the cost savings to the practice of getting rid of the outdated ancillary technology and outsourced billing services they had to pay for in order to support athenaPractice.
A smooth, cost-effective transition
As for cost, the athenaOne pricing model requires no hardware, no upgrade fees, no maintenance fees, no licensing costs, and no charge for standard interfaces. This means practices don’t have the capital expenditures of adopting software. What’s more, for practices that are already athenahealth customers, the cost to switch — both operationally and monetarily — is significantly lower than a solution from another organization. That’s because there are no termination fees, onboarding fees, or data migration fees.
Arnold knew that transitioning to a new healthcare information technology solution could be daunting. However, as a current athenahealth customer, she enjoyed a well-supported, implementation process. athenahealth assigned an Onboarding Team, with experts versed in athenaPractice and athenaOne, to ensure a smooth transition. It was specially arranged for one member of the team to work with them onsite for several days, which Arnold thought was particularly helpful. In addition, practice providers and staff engaged in both online and on-demand training as needed.
“In terms of the value we are getting as well as our customer support, I’ve been very pleased,” says Arnold. From the beginning, the practice engaged with their Customer Success Manager (CSM) as a single point of contact for all questions and resources needed. After implementation, their CSM continues to communicate, learn about, and build a relationship with the practice, helping them access the data they need to improve their performance, and leverage experts when appropriate.
Real-time insight gives the practice better control over performance
With athenaOne, Arnold now has up-to-the-minute transparency into clinical and operational data. “We can easily see whether we are being paid accurately,” says Arnold. “Are we underpaid or overpaid? Are we getting reimbursed to cover our costs? Things like that were impossible to see before athenaOne.”
Arnold enjoys a greater sense of control and can make more informed decisions now that she is equipped with performance data. All of Tarpon’s locations and providers—along with the locations and providers of all 100,000-plus athenaOne customer organizations—are on the same single-instance, cloud-based network. This ensures their user experience is consistent and current and gives them access to a constantly updated knowledge base of best practices. Tarpon has the ability to benchmark their performance against that of their peers on the network, so they can easily identify areas for efficiencies and improvement.
Effective revenue management boosts collections
Before athenaOne, billing was one of the practice’s top challenges. Now, Arnold reports that their revenue management workflows are simpler and more effective. “athena has so many people and processes in place to optimize revenue,” says Arnold. “Our billing has very much improved since we went live with athenaOne.”
athenaOne’s revenue cycle management solution reduces administrative workload with services like automatic eligibility checking and catching claim errors before submission. This means practices improve collections and get paid faster with less work. “athena has eliminated a lot of the issues we had with payers,” says Arnold. And collections have improved, even through the COVID-19 crisis.
Streamlined workflows help repurpose staff and keep the focus on the patient
athenaOne’s user-friendly workflows make it easier for providers and staff to increase efficiency and focus their attention where it matters most. “Our patients flow seamlessly from check-in to check-out,” says Arnold. “Staff members don’t have to pull information from different software programs. Everything we need is integrated into a single workflow.”
Staff and providers alike appreciate how athenaOne reduces documentation time so physicians can spend more time with patients, and staff can be assigned to higher value work. “The clinical and operational workflows in athenaOne are very intuitive,” says Arnold. “The staff love it. Even the clinicians who are not tech-savvy have complimented the system.”
The practice is working smarter now. Arnold reallocated several FTEs who had been supporting physicians into other daily responsibilities. She says that the practice has a more stable foundation for whatever the future may bring.
“If you’re looking at making the switch to athenaOne,” Arnold says, “My advice would be to just do it.”
If you’re considering switching to athenaOne, my advice would be to just do it.
- Dede Arnold, Chief Financial Officer, Tarpon Interventional Pain and Spine Care